After receiving input from @Tao Jones , I decided to post my journal here. My motivations for quitting MO are solely related to my walk with Him, and if I am to succeed in this, it will only be through Him. I waited until the end of this first week to start my journal, as the 7-day mark is where the fight gets real for me. This is progress, as there was a time when I couldn’t go 48 hours without MO. But I am neither willing nor called to settle for 7 day increments. All of this must go. Why? Pornography, as I mentioned in my introduction elsewhere, was never a problem for me. This isn’t some claim to virtue; rather, I never idolized the female figure so much as the idea of a relationship. As it is for many men, women and sex were hopelessly intertwined, and my lust for a relationship fueled my lust for sex and self-gratification. I didn’t lust after some unattainable object found in media. Instead, I lusted for the flesh surrounding me, whether it was an acquaintance, a colleague, a friend, or even someone else’s wife. Perhaps it would be better to say that I wasn’t a serial idolater, but a serial adulterer. I have never given into the actual act of adultery in my life, if we use the narrow definition of a sexual encounter with someone else’s wife. Yet, that is only true due to grace and/or fear: either I was too afraid of the consequences (the woman’s husband would have likely killed me) and/or the opportunity was never welded to desire (I shudder as I recall the sister of someone I was once with, and how close I came to destroying so many lives as she sent signals like a flare gun). But if we expand that definition to those previously divorced, I am guilty. If we expand it even further to fornication (taking the milk without buying the cow; i.e., theft), then I am further guilty. In fact, I can’t say that any sexual relationship I had was legit: the one time I was married, I did so post hoc to cover for my sin (she got pregnant, and I performed a shotgun wedding on myself out of guilt). And although I love my children dearly, nothing good derived from sin ever justifies the sin. And if we expand this definition still further to what Jesus said about the relationship between the eyes and the heart, I am guilty hundreds upon hundreds of times over. All of these sins, regardless of severity of consequence, started with a thought born from lust. At the root of all behavior there is, first and foremost, a thought. Thoughts lead to attitudes of the mind and heart, as more thoughts are grafted into the original (i.e., rationalizations). These attitudes percolate into actions, the initial steps we take towards the thing we know we should not do. Actions become behavior as our efforts are reciprocated, and eventually become character. I avoided many situations by taking my lust into the privacy of masturbation, rationalizing to myself that I was “letting off steam”, and that this was a good thing so I could avoid a more destructive behavior. But this deception became apparent over time, as the privatization of my lust only led to more lust. When opportunity was presented and I felt cornered, I gave into it. When I look back upon the wreckage I have experienced for most my life, it is this one issue which has always been a part of it. It has destroyed everything at one time or another, including relationships, friendships, and even my career. In the event of my career, there were many other factors involved as my enemy circled his wagons around me and hemmed me in until I dropped to my knees. But this issue was the wedge used by my enemy to gain a victory over me as I was scapegoated and paid the price. If I am going to clean up this temple and live my life in accordance with a holy God, there can be no compromise with sin. In time, we are faced with a choice regarding our sins: either the sin is removed, or we remove ourselves from His presence. There can be no middle ground. It is as if a fissure begins to open under our feet, and we are forced to choose which side of the fissure we are going to walk on. We may jump back and forth across it for a time but, eventually, the gap widens to a point where jumping will result in losing our footing as we plummet into the hole. I know of nothing else more true of this analogy than this issue of sexual purity, for there is nothing else which contains more consequences. It all comes down to a simple question in the end. Do we love and trust Him, or not? May I continue to love and trust Him as I leave all of this behind.